The Pixel Buds Pro have arrived and they pack some pretty impressive features. It has been almost two years since the Pixel Buds (2020) were released. Launched as Google’s first pair of wireless earbuds, they were plagued by issues that made them hard to recommend. Google followed with the more affordable Pixel Buds-A series in 2021 which were well-received.

The original Pixel Buds released in 2017 were a pair of wireless Bluetooth earphones with a fabric-clad cord connecting both earbuds. The $159 earphones had an open-ear design with a number of smart features such as language translation and built-in Google Assistant. They also had touch controls and a carrying case.

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The design of the Pixel Buds Pro shows Google has made some modifications. They still have silicon tips to provide a seal when inserted into the ear and come in a white carrying case. However, the stabilizer arc is gone. This should be good news for those who found it uncomfortable on the 2020 Pixel Buds. There are also two visible vents on the outer part of the earbuds. Google says the earbuds are rated IPX4 for water resistance while the case has an IPX2 rating. The earbuds weigh 0.2 ounces (6.2 grams) each, have a soft matte finish, and come in Coral, Fog, Charcoal, and Lemongrass colors.

Active Noise Cancellation Meets Smart Features

The Pixel Buds Pro comes in four colors

The 2020 Pixel Buds didn’t have Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and neither do the more affordable Pixel Buds-A series. That changes with the Pixel Buds Pro as Google has added ANC support, complete with a transparency mode. A six-core audio chip that runs proprietary algorithms controls the ANC. Google also says the 11mm speaker drivers in the earbuds are custom-made. The moldable silicone ear tips should help to keep the sound in, but since they might not be the perfect size for everyone, Google has developed a solution called ‘Silent Seal’ which can adapt to the user’s ears “to help maximize the amount of noise that’s canceled.” There are also sensors in the earbuds that can measure the pressure in the ear canal and reduce it to ensure comfort during long listening sessions.

Another feature is Volume EQ which automatically tunes the earbuds for a balanced listening experience when the user adjusts the volume. Users will still be able to adjust the five-band EQ to their liking. When the Pixel Buds Pro launch in July, they won’t have spatial audio like the Galaxy Buds Pro or AirPods Pro. That feature will arrive later in 2022. What they will have right out of the box is Bluetooth Multipoint, allowing for automatic switching between previously connected devices. Google also mentions this feature will work with not only Android phones and tablets but also TVs, laptops, and iPhones. In addition, familiar features such as Fast Pair, hands-free “Hey Google” and real-time translation (up to 40 supported languages) are making a comeback.

The Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds also support touch controls and swiping to control playback, turn on ANC, and adjust the volume. The voice accelerometer, beamforming mics, and wind-blocking mesh covers on each earbud should help with clear calls even in loud and windy environments. The battery life is stated to be 11 hours but it drops down to seven hours when ANC is turned on. Total battery life with the case is 31 hours (2o hours with ANC on). The case charges via USB-C and also supports Qi wireless charging. There is support for fast charging too — a five-minute charge will provide up to one hour of listening time while a 15-minute charge will last up to three hours. Google will ship the earbuds with three pairs of ear tips of varying sizes. However, buyers will have to use their own USB-C cable and charger. The Pixel Buds Pro are priced at $199, undercutting the $249 AirPods Pro, and will be available to pre-order starting July 21, 2022.